As we get further into July, some Top Secret Autumn preparation is taking place and I realised that I hadn’t told y’all what I’ve been up to for ages, so here’s a list:
- Gone outside a LOT and walked whenever possible
- Hung out with some of my favourite people, drank, ate and laughed a lot
- Visited the maps at the British Library about 3 times
- Saw Future of the Left post-Kelson’s departure, they were okay but the magic was lost
- Circus Boy came for a visit to celebrate his birthday
- Alex CF’s stunning exhibition of Many Dead Things opened in Shoreditch
- Went to the amazing Frisky & Mannish show at Udderbelly, where I laughed so hard I cried and cringed so hard I hid
- Was introduced to lush Mint and Chilli tea
- Went to Futurising. It was brilliant, my favourite bits were Tom Hunter and Morag Myerscough
- Ankles was played on Radio Teesdale
- My wonderful friend Sarah and I met Terry Pratchett and saw China Mieville on a panel with Adam Roberts and some other leaders in Sci Fi fiction
- Started watching Mad Men. Wow.
- Went to the Science Museum. The best bit was the sound exhibit; watched a presentation about Space, there were explosions and I learnt some sign language
- I joined Formspring and have been asked lots of interesting questions
- Put up some shelves and finally got my favourite books out of storage. There were also some DVDs that I’d forgotten about
- I saw China Mieville speak a second time at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival
- We celebrated a whole year since my first solo gig by going to see Jim Bob read from his book and play some music; he was supported by Isy Suttie and Andrew Collins
Saving the best till last: I’ve set up a Tumblr blog to share inspirations I find on this here internets.
I was also commissioned by a dance company to create two pieces of music for some choreography. They wanted there to be some links between the two pieces but very different feels. You can listen to the final tracks here:
This month is mostly planning, writing (I’m only halfway through the album), re-recording and re-editing. Off to Truck in a couple of weeks, where I’m gonna see Something Beginning With L, Pulled Apart By Horses and Islet all in the same place (can’t quite believe my luck).
Remember if you put good stuff out there, life can be a wonderful thing. Be generous of your time and your spirit and the rewards you reap will be beyond your imaginings. I’ve been focusing on seeing the good in all people and in living without bravado. Laughter is the best medicine.Tags: 2010, Alex CF, China Mieville, FOTL, Frisky & Mannish, futurising, maps, Morag Myerscough, no bravado, Tom Hunter
Post-2010 election and the future of this country’s cultural community hangs in the balance.
Yesterday, following a Tory/Lib-Dem coalition and the announcement of the new cabinet that includes Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt *rhyming slang anyone?*, a £66 million cut in budget for the DCMS (Department for Culture Media and Sport) was reported in the national press.
Where this cut will likely be made will be to the Arts and arts funding.
So, why should this bother me?
Unable to avoid sounding like a cliche, “the Arts” is my life. My entire life. Creativity, music and performance are everything I have ever known and everything I have been able to do since I can remember. I don’t know about a lot of things, I have built my whole adult existence around music making and creating opportunities for others to make music.
But that was my choice surely?
Yes, I chose to do a variety of work that doesn’t pay very well in a field that I am passionate about. I chose to give myself the freedom I need in order to write the music I want to make. I chose to commit myself to work I believe in. But I am not a doctor, a scientist, a soldier, a psychologist, a classroom teacher, a policewoman, a plumber or a builder. If I was in the balloon I would be the first to be thrown out. I am not claiming that this is a worthy profession.
Music is all around us. It can change our mood instantaneously and unpredictably. It urges us to move, to dance, to celebrate, to cry, to sleep, to breathe differently, to rise up, to ritualise, I could go on and on.
Art is everywhere. It is what our brains do when we’re not thinking.
When did you last read a book? When did you last see a film? When did you last see a postcard or a painting that you loved? When did you last watch some people dancing or singing? When did you last pretend or lie? When did you last create, however small, even a doodle on a pad or whistling a tune? When did you last write something for work and think really hard about picking the right words? When did you last take a photograph?
What will happen?
I can’t predict the future (as you all know I’m pretty good at it though!). High end, high cost, high brow art will be largely unaffected. Yes, sure there will be cuts to the biggies (the national theatres, ballets, operas and musicals) but they will stay open and the ticket prices will go up to cover any lowering of funding.
The people who will be affected are people like me, individual artists trying to earn a living doing the only thing they are any good at. People who didn’t inherit any money to put them through private education, people who might or might not have a degree and might or might not be classically trained. Also, disabled artists, who face additional barriers to their music making and performance, this might be because of mental health difficulties, cognitive, sensory or physical impairments.
Talented, committed and incredible, unique people who have a right to express themselves through their art and have a right to be heard and seen.
In a capitalist society we all have to earn a living, we all have to contribute whatever we can to the world. I only have this. Music. This is all I have to give.
Creativity is born of revolution
I am unclear what this looks like at the moment, it is too close to yesterday’s announcement for me to feel anything other than distress. I have fire in my belly though and with time (not much time!) I will be able to express better what I mean by the above statement.
If you have anything creative in you, do it. Let it out.
Here’s some stuff that might help:
- Any of the links on the right hand side of here will take you to stuff that can inspire you.
- This was posted on Twitter by Futurising a while ago, it’s about just getting on with it.
- Drake Music is a music organisation that I work with.
- You can write to Jeremy Hunt and tell him what you think of him, in fact why not write to that awful woman Theresa May at the same time.